Last Saturday I was blessed to have witnessed a display of spontaneous community support in response to an urgent need, the likes of which I have not seen before. More than 250 of my F3 brothers and I converged on Columbia that day to help with the epic flood cleanup. The devastation was staggering! In the the neighborhood where our work team was assigned, near Bush River Rd., many homes were flooded by as much as five to six feet of water. Everything had to be removed from the home we worked on, down to the bare studs … furniture, clothes, drywall, cabinets, flooring…it all had to come out as a first step in this family’s long road to recovery. The homeowner was there. He was in shock at the devastation, and very, very appreciative of our help. Our very capable nine man F3MECA team (Sensai, Magma, Tumbler, Sonic(Tumbler 2.0), Dutch, Trail Mix, Gazebo, Gazelle, and me) gutted the kitchen, foyer, and garage while a church-based work team attacked other parts of the home. I looked up and down the street, and every house within sight was a beehive of demolition activity…mountains of debris in every yard were steadily piled higher throughout the day.
But workers gotta eat, right? Well, that need was met too (not to my surprise) and in great abundance. Volunteers showed up with drinks and all kinds of food (lots of it home made by behind-the-scenes volunteers). Several port-o-johns were brought in, by who, I’ll never know, but that need was met also! There were children pulling wagons up and down the streets with food, and drinks. People were going house-to-house offering gloves, masks and other supplies. Police were there making sure the streets stayed clear from the crush of volunteer’s vehicles jammed into the neighborhood. I talked to quite a few people that day, some from churches or other groups, some individuals who just saw a need and were compelled to help. Each person gave from their pool of talents.
The day’s efforts were but a small portion of the monumental job of restoring this community, but the ball was advanced. This may sound over-the-top to some, but I believe this unscripted and massive outpouring of support was a microcosm of the can-do spirit that built this country into the greatest and most giving nation on earth. We left Columbia that day tired and filthy. My spirits were lifted high though, by the efforts of so many caring Columbians and others from throughout the Southeast. I’ve got to believe many others were energized as well.
Note: I was treated to yet another (random??) act of kindness when we stopped for coffee at a truck stop at exit 48 on I-77 as Tumbler, Sonic and I drove home. Maybe it was my disheveled and exhausted look, who knows, but when I took my cup of coffee to the counter to pay, the nice lady looked at me and said…”No charge”!
Yes, Virginia, there are indeed lots of good people in this great land!